Why cover letters are a must for freelance consulting projects
MMO Freelance team: I thought your application looked great – but are you sure you don’t want to include a cover letter?
Freelancer: No, my CV covers everything the client needs to know – a cover letter isn’t necessary. I’m too busy to write anything right now – the CV should suffice.
MMO Freelance team: The CV does look good but a lot of the information is lost. You have some really relevant experience but it’s hard to reach.
Freelancer: It’ll be fine. Look forward to hearing what the client thinks.
We monitor every application made for each freelance consulting project on the site. The conversation above is one we have on a daily basis and the outcome is always the same – the freelancer isn’t invited to interview. Normally, the freelancer just chalks it off in the belief that someone with a lower day rate/more suitable experience applied and they simply lost out to a better-qualified applicant – this couldn’t be further from the truth.
As the freelance consulting market continues to grow and the calibre of freelance candidates improves, simply having impressive brand names and one or two relevant projects no longer guarantees you an interview. Chances are, someone else with an identical profile (good full-time experience, relevant project experience, comparable day rate) has also applied – so why are they interviewed and hired while you’re left stumbling at the first hurdle? It’s because they took the time to write a tailored cover letter detailing why they were a strong fit for the project.
A well-written cover letter not only demonstrates suitability for a project but more importantly, it illustrates that a freelancer has taken the time to read a job description carefully, considered the requirements, and matched them against their own experience.
“A well-written cover letter not only demonstrates suitability for a project but more importantly, it illustrates that a freelancer has taken the time to read a job description carefully, considered the requirements, and matched them against their own experience.”
Why including a cover letter in freelance consulting projects application should be a must
They allow you to ‘sell yourself’
Cover letters are the only stage in an interview process you have full control over (content, tone, structure). It’s the only place where you can truly ‘sell’ yourself. At interview stage, it’s often the interviewer who dictates proceedings and you’re not always able to cover all the areas you would have liked – that’s assuming you’re even invited to interview. How can you expect a client to ‘buy’ your services if you’re not willing to ‘sell’ them? It’s like listing a product on eBay with only a picture and a price, no description on what the product does, how it works, what makes it better than its competitors – would you buy a product if it was listed in this way?
They allow you to personally engage with the brand
Are you a customer of the business, do you know anyone in the business who can vouch for you, do you follow the business closely? All things that you can add to your cover letter to put you ahead of the competition as they demonstrate a genuine interest in the project & business.
They summarize the relevant parts of your experience
CVs are long, sometimes poorly structured, and often very difficult to navigate when trying to find project specific experience. Cover letters give you a nice, neat, organized document with all relevant experience easily accessible. This is especially important when a client receives a lot of interest in a project. Trying to skim read lots of CVs means hiring managers don’t have the time to carefully read every role/project you’ve worked on, so it might be that some of the highly relevant experience is missed.
They demonstrate you really considered the role
A well-written, informative cover letter, tailored to a specific opportunity, illustrates a genuine interest in the opportunity, in freelance consulting and in all other applications. It gives employers confidence that you’ve actually taken the time to read the job description and carefully considered whether you’re a match.
They take time but that’s a good thing
A strong cover letter gives employers confidence you’re selective with your project choice and you don’t just spray your CV to every project available. By tailoring a cover letter to a specific project, you’re essentially self-selecting suitability for the project – it may be that after really considering the requirements, you’re not a strong match.
They confirm fit for a project
The following movemeon article summarizes what makes a good cover letter. Hopefully, you’ll see an increase in your invitation to interview rate with this small alteration – trust me, it may seem small, but it makes a huge difference…
Happy freelance consulting!
– The MMO Freelance team
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